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Monday, March 4, 2024

High-speed chase ends with drug bust in Eustis

A 31-year-old Alabama native scuffled with police officers who arrested him on drug charges following a high-speed chase in Eustis last week.

Michael Ryan Derringer, who now lives in Eustis, was charged with possession of cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and drug paraphernalia after his arrest last Thursday. He was also charged with tampering with evidence, driving while license suspended (third or subsequent offense), and attached tag not assigned.

An officer observed Derringer speeding southbound on Kurt Street at around 3:24 a.m. and tried to get behind the silver Jeep as it approached the intersection with U.S. Highway 441, but Derringer ignored the traffic light and made a right turn without hesitation before speeding off, according to an arrest report from the Eustis Police Department.

The officer tried to catch up with Derringer as he traveled westbound on Highway 441 but was initially unable to despite going 75 mph. Derringer made a right turn onto David Walker Drive and the officer was finally able to catch up with him when he turned left onto Huffstetler Drive, the report said.

The officer initiated a traffic stop as the vehicle pulled into the Club of Eustis apartment complex. Another officer arrived on scene and watched Derringer try to evade law enforcement by going around a patch of grass. Once he realized there were two officers, Derringer put the Jeep in reverse and backed into a parking space, according to the report.

One of the officers then unholstered his gun and ordered Derringer to show his hands, but he would only show his left hand while his right remained hidden beneath the dash. Derringer started yelling at the officers as they continued giving commands. Once he got out of the vehicle, Derringer waited with one of the officers so the other could inspect the Jeep, the report said.

Derringer told the officer the license tag did not belong to the Jeep and he had a suspended license. The plate was found to belong to a black Mercedes. A computer check did not show it was stolen but attempts to contact the owner were unsuccessful, according to the report.

The officer deployed his narcotic detection K9 partner. An open-air sniff around the outside of the vehicle led to the dog placing her nose to the driver door seam. She sniffed it numerous times and gave a final alert at that door after sniffing the others, the report said.

A probable cause search of the vehicle ensued, and two pieces of tin foil were found in the center cup holders. Both contained a brown substance suspected to be heroin or fentanyl. The substance appeared to be unsmoked due to its light brown color as opposed to a dark burnt color. It later tested positive for fentanyl, according to the report.

An officer tried putting Derringer’s hands behind his back to place him in handcuffs, but he started to pull away and ball his hand. Two officers took Derringer to the ground where they began to struggle to grab his hands. More officers had to come over and assist in the scuffle. Derringer was threatened with a taser before he ultimately complied, the report said.

Officers then noticed Derringer had something in his hands. This turned out to be two plastic bags, one of which contained methamphetamine and the other cocaine. He admitted to having these substances in his possession, according to the report.

Derringer was transported to the Lake County Jail without further incident and released after posting $14,500 bond.

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